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Terrible Freedom: The Life and Work of Lucia Dlugoszewski

“An illuminating biography of an elusive figure whose music was nonetheless firmly embedded in modern dance and the American artistic avant-garde. The book is a fascinating and distinctive contribution to the crucial historical recovery of women’s musical lives.”—Marian Wilson Kimber, University of Iowa

“The first full-length study of this poet, composer, and choreographer who attracted the admiration of the numerous A-list composers and critics filling our music history books, but who has herself been almost completely absent from the historical record. Beal allows her complex subject to be multidimensional and fully human.”—Denise Von Glahn, author of The Sounds of Place: Music and the American Cultural Landscape, winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award

From her childhood in Detroit to her professional career in New York City, American composer Lucia Dlugoszewski (1925–2000) lived a life of relentless creativity as a poet and writer, composer for dance, theater, and film, and, eventually, choreographer. Forging her own path after briefly studying with John Cage and Edgard Var se, Dlugoszewski tackled the musical issues of her time. She expanded sonic resources, invented instruments, brought new focus to timbre and texture, collaborated with artists across disciplines, and incorporated spiritual, psychological, and philosophical influences into her work. Remembered today almost solely as the musical director for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Dlugoszewski's compositional output, writings on aesthetics, creative relationships, and graphic poetry deserve careful examination on their own terms within the history of American experimental music.